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      Howard Dean Group Apposes Afghanistan

      Welcome home, Democracy for America (DFA)! Another sign that the White House encourages, or does not oppose, the anti-war sentiment by its allied groups, DFA, MoveOn, Campaign for America’s Future and, first to reverse its position, the Center for American Priorities. It’s good that they have rejoined the peace movement and I hope the White House follows.

      It should be remembered that their positions can change again, and that they are in favor of a phased withdrawal rather than a complete withdrawal, including bases. And they support the Gillibrand bill, which does nothing beyond Obama’s proposal to “begin” withdrawals by July while leaving open the ending of withdrawals. As with other language, her bill covers combat troops only. To understand the importance of this phrasing, consider that the White House is leaving in Iraq 16,000 Embassy staff and a small army of contractors.

      These initiatives undercut Barbara Lee’s resolution, which unanimously passed the DNC, and Barbara Lee’s bill to defund. So as the anti-Afghanistan coalition widens, its position becomes more diluted, too.

      But believe me, any significant withdrawal step will push Europe to get troops out and may divide and shake up Afghanistan. Never forget that this started with our intervention in a civil war and, despite thousands of lives and billions of dollars, is likely to end in a civil war unless there is negotiated territorial partition.

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